This is a Form Response, by Jamie Brew

Dear ransom note recipient(s),

Thank you for your inquiry. Your time and kidnapped loved one are important to me.

This is a form response. Please understand that it takes me a great deal of time and dedication just to keep the hostages safe, fed, and hidden from the police. I earnestly try to keep up with the dozens of letters that pour in every day from families demanding answers, but the sheer volume of requests I receive makes it impractical for me to reply immediately to every single one.

Nevertheless, I remain committed to eventually giving all of my victims’ families’ letters a considered, personal response. A consequence of this policy is that you must wait slightly longer to hear back from me. The current waiting period is about 2-3 months.

If you have not received a personal reply by the end of three months, feel free to resubmit your desperate plea or ransom payment offer. I do not accept simultaneous submissions, as I hope you understand that my doing so would be unfair to the other hostages. In the event that I receive two letters about the same hostage, it is my policy to disregard them both.

I am also unable to accept or return any phone calls for the time being. I am installing a new voice scrambler in my phone that will eventually allow me to respond to your requests faster and more securely than ever before. Unfortunately, the scrambler requires an adapter that is only produced in Europe and won’t arrive for several weeks. I appreciate your continued patience during this transitional period. I assure you that the new scrambler’s performance will not disappoint.

However, in light of the high submission volume and the issues with the phone, I regret to inform you that I am unable to release your loved one at this time. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and wish you the best of luck with your successful payment of the ransom I have demanded.


Jamie Brew

P.S. If you received this letter erroneously in response to a submission intended for my quarterly creative nonfiction magazine, please resend with “MAGAZINE” clearly marked on the back of the envelope.

Jamie Brew is a student at Brown University.

The Humor Section features a piece of original humor writing each week. To submit to it, send an email to Becca O’Neal.

This is a Form Response, by Jamie Brew